About the ending:
Sacrilegious as it may well be to wrap things up 'connubially' within a framework modeled on a book like Al Qur'ân, the male and female protagonists did, indeed, have intercourse (this according to Franchone's prototype; Zahra's told a somewhat circumspect version), hence tact defers to truth with respect to said finale. That the prose gets borderline preachy at the end is more in keeping with its doctrinaire paradigm.
Defondo Cantrell Shireson was never charged for his involvement in Ahmed's murder. Aside from a brief article in the San Francisco Chronicle recounting a "drug deal gone sour" and a police officer's "use of deadly force in the line of duty," details of the incident went under-reported. Homeland Security, however, launched a full-scale investigation. Zahra's roommates were questioned (albeit long after Ms. Rahnavard disappeared), as was "Franchone Pinkney" (who claimed remarkable ignorance about his erstwhile lover's background and whereabouts). And, as mentioned in the FORWARD, law enforcement also cross-examined me.
For the record, I, too, have no idea where "Zahra Rahnavard" now resides. Shortly after we completed the last of several conversations (each attended by my unnamed translator), all contact between heroine and author ceased. Whether or not "Ms. Rahnavard" would approve of The Scarecrow's Daughter remains unverifiable, but chances are she would disavow connection to the story as told.
The real Franchone, by the way (as of this writing), still has not completed his dissertation.